Sachin Pilot sacked as Dy CM and removed as State Cong chief, 2 Ministers who joined him in his revolt against CM also dropped
The Congress Government in Rajasthan is on the brink just three months after the party lost Madhya Pradesh in a similar rebellion. Rebel leader Sachin Pilot was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and removed as State party chief after he skipped a second meeting of MLAs despite the leadership reaching out to him several times. Two Ministers who have joined him in his revolt were also dropped.
Congress said Pilot was “ensnared” by the BJP to bring down the Ashok Gehlot Government. The BJP has demanded Gehlot to face floor test and senior BJP leader Om Mathur reached Jaipur to conduct a meeting of party leaders on Wednesday at 11 am in Jaipur. Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia will be present.
While sources indicated that Pilot may announce to launch a new political party on Wednesday, Om Mathur said he is welcome in the BJP making it first public invitation to Sachin Pilot amid the ongoing crisis in the Rajasthan Government.
The BJP leader also said that if Ashok Gehlot is claiming that he has the support of MLAs, he should go through the floor test and prove majority in the Rajasthan Assembly.
“Our doors are open for Sachin Pilot. Anyone who wishes to join the party and embrace its ideology, they are welcome. The BJP has become such a large party because people from different walks of life have joined us and believed in our ideology,” Mathur said.
On being asked about Sachin Pilot’s wishes to become the Rajasthan Chief Minister himself, Mathur said the Chief Minister is chosen by the party legislature.
He also said that the dispute between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot is an internal matter of the Congress and went on to add that the party has not done right with a leader like Sachin Pilot.
The remarks by the top leader of Rajasthan BJP comes even as Congress decides to take disciplinary action against Sachin Pilot and his camp of MLAs who skipped the second Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Tuesday despite repeated calls by top leaders of the party.
Sources said Sachin Pilot has the support of 16 Congress MLAs and three independent legislators while Ashok Gehlot has the support of 102 MLAs.
Gehlot, whose tally has slipped into the breakeven point held a Cabinet meeting late in the evening which saw the Congress left with 100 MLAs, the half-way mark in the 200-member Assembly, after three MLAs left his camp this morning.
Before Sachin Pilot’s rebellion, the Congress had 107 MLAs besides the support of 13 independents and five members from smaller parties. That number has now come down to 90 Congress MLAs, seven independent members and three to five from smaller parties.
Sachin Pilot has at least 20 MLAs on his side — 17 Congress and three independent legislators. The BJP, which has 73 MLAs, needs the support of another 35 to take power in Rajasthan.
One Congress ally, Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP), which has two MLAs in the Rajasthan Assembly, has withdrawn support to the Congress. One of its MLAs, Rajkumar Roat, posted a video alleging that the police had stopped him from leaving Jaipur and had taken his car keys thus he felt humiliation.
AICC sources said now Gehlot is banking on Sachin Pilot and other rebels being disqualified, which will bring down the half-way mark and fortify his numbers if he has to face a test of strength.
The Congress during the last two days made several attempt to reach out to Pilot but a decision to sack him from party posts was taken after a meeting between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi with no signs of any overture by former party chief Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul did not made any attempts to even stop Jyotiraditya Scindia from leaving the Congress who was instrumental in toppling the Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh where the Congress had come to power after 15 years.
Pilot has denied that he is headed to the BJP though Congress sources asserted he was always in touch with the party. The party accused the BJP of setting up the Rajasthan Government crisis with help from rebel Pilot.
Union Jal Shakthi Minister and senior BJP leader from Rajasthan Gajendra Singh Shekhawat dropped broad hints that Pilot may fly to saffron camp. “Any leader with a mass base who wishes to join the BJP should be welcomed”, he said hours after Congress removed pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and president of Rajasthan Congress.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and ex-Union Minister Uma Bharti has attributed Pilot’s rebellion to “humiliation” within the Congress.
“Sachin is son of late Congress leader Rajesh pilot so I know that his family has self-respect. I can understand he must have been facing humiliation for the last one and half-years,” said Bharti who has been handed over “political Sanyas” by the Modi-Shah dispensation.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) insults and humiliates young leaders due to envy…he is unable to tolerate brilliant young leaders. So these young leaders are left with no option but to confront and fight,” she said.
Since the Congress took power in Rajasthan in 2018, Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have not been on good terms and the fued often reached the party high command. The feud peaked when Pilot was asked to answer questions in an investigation into an alleged attempt to destabilise the State Government ahead of last month’s Rajya Sabha elections.
Wednesday, 15 July 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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